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06.06.2014by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Military SciFi Movies of All Time (Video Edition)

EDGE OF TOMORROW hit theaters today and combines two tried and true genres: military and science fiction. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly and encompass both our fear of the unknown and hope for the future. Here is our ranking of the ten best military science fiction movies of all time. Remember, war is not a requirement for these genres but it certainly helps. If your favorite didn't make the list, feel free to add it to the talk backs below.

#10 - AVATAR

AVATAR brings together the same militaristic feel of the James Cameron TERMINATOR movies and places it directly into a story about genocide. The technology on display from the human soldiers in the movie is hardcore and Jake Sully's commitment to his Marine training is evident throughout. Stephen Lang's portrayal of Colonel Quaritch is a great villain if not a stereotypical military bad guy.

#9 - STAR WARS

STAR WARS may be focused on the cool powers of the Jedi, but you cannot overlook the vital role the Empire plays in the film. The Stormtrooper and Imperial Army have become lasting visuals since the release of the first film and has only grown over the years. The Rebel Alliance is just as vital, but how can you have a movie list like this without including STAR WARS?

#8 - ENEMY MINE

Possibly the most unconventional movie on this list, ENEMY MINE is not about direct warfare or combat but rather about two soldiers from opposing sides of an intergalactic war who must learn to survive together. The movie may look a little goofy 30 years later, but ENEMY MINE is a powerful movie about brotherhood and xenophobia. Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. are great as the two foes who become brothers.

#7 - PACIFIC RIM

While not a traditional military outfit, the Jaeger program (aka Pan Pacific Defense Corps) from PACIFIC RIM is a perfect example of disparate nations banding together to battle a singular foe in the Kaiju. The military presence is represented by Idris Elba as Marshall Stacker Pentecost (best name ever, by the way) and while they are a ragtag group of fighters, there is a clear sense of unified purpose and mission behind their training and actions. Plus, the robots just look so damn cool.

#6 - ENDER'S GAME

A beloved novel that didn't quite become the film everyone was hoping for, ENDER'S GAME does a great job of showcasing a military force that isn't quite what it seems to be. Harrison Ford and Viola Davis turn in good performances, but Ben Kinglsey as Mazer Rackham is the highlight of the film. His backstory is quite interesting to watch, but there is something unsettling about seeing children developed into a fighting force that sets ENDER'S GAME apart.

#5 - STARGATE

The STARGATE film has a delicate balance between the human military and science experts who must join forces to defeat the alien menace they encounter, a theme that grew on the subsequent television series and spin-off films. But, Kurt Russell as Colonel Jack O'Neil delivers a lasting character that will hopefully return in a significant capacity in the announced reboot trilogy.

#4 - THE LAST STARFIGHTER

After the original STAR WARS trilogy had been released, THE LAST STARFIGHTER brought the desire of every kid who wanted to be Luke Skywalker one step closer by proposing that a video game could be the entrance exam to joining the Rylan Star League. I know that after seeing the movie, I wanted so badly for one day one of my games to suddenly have this power. Much like the Rebel Alliance, the Rylan Star League is a mix of alien races joining forces to defeat an evil enemy. The effects may be dated, but THE LAST STARFIGHTER is still pretty damn awesome.

#3 - STAR TREK

The epitome of science fiction military organization, STAR TREK has always been more about exploration and peace rather than all out violent war. But, that is not to say that the dozen films released do not have conflict. STAR TREK has always been more of a thinking man's series that follows a more realistic path for where our future could lead. Starfleet and the Federation represent a more idealistic future that we rarely see in movies outside of this franchise. J.J. Abrams' rebooted series still retains that hopefulness but with a bit of an edge missing from prior films.

#2 - ALIENS

Switching gears from the haunted house in space model of Ridley Scott's original, James Cameron injected some serious hooah into the sequel. Bringing in a team of mercenaries with military training, ALIENS is an awesome mix of firepower and horror. Bring on the big guns and the massive artillery and you get the evolution of scary movie to scary action movie that has yet to be topped in the ALIEN franchise.

#1 - STARSHIP TROOPERS

This may be far from the best movie on this list, but 1997's STARSHIP TROOPERS is a guilty pleasure and action movie delight. Full of satire of war movies from film history, Paul Verhoeven's movie is a gory spectacle of the highest caliber. Don't forget, there are also boobies galore including a sexy Denise Richards and a gorgeous Dina Meyer. Casper Van Dien may be the lead, but Michael Ironside steals the show alongside a pre-HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER Neil Patrick Harris.

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5:21PM on 06/07/2014

Really?

Words cannot express how much of a fail this list is. Starship Troopers higher than motherfucking Aliens? No Predator? Sheesh

Words cannot express how much of a fail this list is. Starship Troopers higher than motherfucking Aliens? No Predator? Sheesh

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10:05AM on 06/07/2014

Keep going!

11. ID4
12. Predator
13. Battle Los Angeles
14. Battleship
15. Battlestar Galactica
11. ID4
12. Predator
13. Battle Los Angeles
14. Battleship
15. Battlestar Galactica
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4:32PM on 06/06/2014

Usual mistake...

Sorry, Alex, but you have just made a common mistake - Star Wars is NOT science fiction.
It is a fantasy set in space - it has swordfights, magic, a princess, an evil empire, knights...
The fact that it has blasters and spaceships does not make it science fiction, because it doesn't rely on science.
Sorry, Alex, but you have just made a common mistake - Star Wars is NOT science fiction.
It is a fantasy set in space - it has swordfights, magic, a princess, an evil empire, knights...
The fact that it has blasters and spaceships does not make it science fiction, because it doesn't rely on science.
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+0
1:21PM on 06/06/2014

Oh, Starship Troopers!

Big action scenes! Big bugs! Big Boobs! Fasism metaphors! I love it!
I wonder when will Hollywood make its unnecessary PG-13 remake....
Big action scenes! Big bugs! Big Boobs! Fasism metaphors! I love it!
I wonder when will Hollywood make its unnecessary PG-13 remake....
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+0
1:13PM on 06/06/2014
I think it was a rare, thoughtful movie, with an unusual moral for a Hollywood film.
Plus, despite the great adult actors, it was Asa Butterfield who carried the film. Great kid actor!
I think it was a rare, thoughtful movie, with an unusual moral for a Hollywood film.
Plus, despite the great adult actors, it was Asa Butterfield who carried the film. Great kid actor!
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12:46PM on 06/06/2014
I like all the choices but Ender's Game one of the best of all time?? That's a bit of a stretch. I agree with netforce. How did predator not make this list??
I like all the choices but Ender's Game one of the best of all time?? That's a bit of a stretch. I agree with netforce. How did predator not make this list??
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1:17PM on 06/06/2014
I think Ender's Game is that good! Not for the action, but for the moral of it. Plus, good adult and kid actors!
I think Ender's Game is that good! Not for the action, but for the moral of it. Plus, good adult and kid actors!
12:42PM on 06/06/2014
One of my all time favorites from my childhood.
One of my all time favorites from my childhood.
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12:32PM on 06/06/2014

Mercenaries

The troops in Aliens were Marines not Mercenaries. What about Predator? Didn't the green berets need love for killing an alien?
The troops in Aliens were Marines not Mercenaries. What about Predator? Didn't the green berets need love for killing an alien?
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-1
12:11PM on 06/06/2014
AVATAR: 8/10
PACIFIC RIM: 7/10
"ENDER"'S GAME: 5/10
AVATAR: 8/10
PACIFIC RIM: 7/10
"ENDER"'S GAME: 5/10
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+1
9:20AM on 06/06/2014

Good list but...

I could have thought of a dozen films better than Pacific Rim. Really? -_-
I could have thought of a dozen films better than Pacific Rim. Really? -_-
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8:55AM on 06/06/2014
Eh, wouldn't quite put this at first place. I think a good deal of the impact of the satire got lost in the bombast and I really think it would have benefited from a more of a sly approach.
Eh, wouldn't quite put this at first place. I think a good deal of the impact of the satire got lost in the bombast and I really think it would have benefited from a more of a sly approach.
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8:53AM on 06/06/2014
This is one of the rare sequels that goes in quite a different direction from the first film but comes out being as good, if not better, than it. The other example that immediately comes to mind is Terminator 2: Judgement Day...also from Cameron! Really love how much of a shoutout Edge of Tomorrow gave Aliens, particularly in casting Bill Paxton.
This is one of the rare sequels that goes in quite a different direction from the first film but comes out being as good, if not better, than it. The other example that immediately comes to mind is Terminator 2: Judgement Day...also from Cameron! Really love how much of a shoutout Edge of Tomorrow gave Aliens, particularly in casting Bill Paxton.
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8:51AM on 06/06/2014
I'll stand by the two J.J. Abrams films as being some of the best experiences I've had in the theatre in recent memory. Both films were well paced, well cast, had some great visuals and were really dynamic. I guess I'm not attached enough to classic Trek to be offended.
I'll stand by the two J.J. Abrams films as being some of the best experiences I've had in the theatre in recent memory. Both films were well paced, well cast, had some great visuals and were really dynamic. I guess I'm not attached enough to classic Trek to be offended.
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12:11PM on 06/06/2014
Very much so Jedd, the way I look at it is the 'classic canon, 1966 - 2002' will always be there.
Now JJ has brought a new lease of life to Trek and I fully embrace it. He has taken it in a new and exciting direction, one which I hope continues for years to come.


Very much so Jedd, the way I look at it is the 'classic canon, 1966 - 2002' will always be there.
Now JJ has brought a new lease of life to Trek and I fully embrace it. He has taken it in a new and exciting direction, one which I hope continues for years to come.


10:27AM on 06/06/2014
I think it's great that some fans who love classic Trek like yourself were able to embrace what J. J. Abrams did with the series. I think you're spot on in saying he breathed new life into what was often seen as a stodgy franchise.
I think it's great that some fans who love classic Trek like yourself were able to embrace what J. J. Abrams did with the series. I think you're spot on in saying he breathed new life into what was often seen as a stodgy franchise.
9:28AM on 06/06/2014

I would consider myself very attached to classic Trek and I'm not offended by JJ Abrams entries in the slightest.
I found them to be exciting, refreshing and damn good fun. He took a dying (many would say dead) franchise and breathed new life in to it.

I would consider myself very attached to classic Trek and I'm not offended by JJ Abrams entries in the slightest.
I found them to be exciting, refreshing and damn good fun. He took a dying (many would say dead) franchise and breathed new life in to it.
8:50AM on 06/06/2014
No Dutch and his team from Predator? Okay, it may not be truly military but military nonetheless.
No Dutch and his team from Predator? Okay, it may not be truly military but military nonetheless.
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8:49AM on 06/06/2014
I thought this movie would be at number 1.
I thought this movie would be at number 1.
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8:48AM on 06/06/2014
I remember Roger Ebert very famously disliking this, but I think it's okay and did introduce a very cool idea which was the ideal foundation stone for a big media-spanning franchise.
I remember Roger Ebert very famously disliking this, but I think it's okay and did introduce a very cool idea which was the ideal foundation stone for a big media-spanning franchise.
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8:47AM on 06/06/2014
With Kurt Russell as the leader of your team, the victory is already yours.
With Kurt Russell as the leader of your team, the victory is already yours.
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8:46AM on 06/06/2014
I think that while it has its flaws, this is definitely something of an achievement and it did have a terrific supporting cast, in addition to very capable kid actors.
I think that while it has its flaws, this is definitely something of an achievement and it did have a terrific supporting cast, in addition to very capable kid actors.
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8:45AM on 06/06/2014
To me, this is one of those movies that sounded so much fun on paper that it was unlikely it would actually see the light of day, so I am really happy it did. Really interesting that Tom Cruise was apparently Guillermo del Toro's first choice for Stacker Pentecost. I think Elba played both the authoritative toughness and the father figure relationship to Mako really well.
To me, this is one of those movies that sounded so much fun on paper that it was unlikely it would actually see the light of day, so I am really happy it did. Really interesting that Tom Cruise was apparently Guillermo del Toro's first choice for Stacker Pentecost. I think Elba played both the authoritative toughness and the father figure relationship to Mako really well.
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8:43AM on 06/06/2014
Excellent metaphor movie, if very much a product of the times.
Excellent metaphor movie, if very much a product of the times.
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8:42AM on 06/06/2014
Great choice for this list; I always liked how the Rebels organised themselves and the snowspeeder sequence is a great example of that.
Great choice for this list; I always liked how the Rebels organised themselves and the snowspeeder sequence is a great example of that.
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8:41AM on 06/06/2014
Stephen Lang was having a hell of a good time on this one.
Stephen Lang was having a hell of a good time on this one.
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